Double the trouble
Visakhapatnam, October 3
India’s opening batsman Mayank Agarwal converted his maiden Test hundred into a double century as the home team declared for 502/7 before the hosts’ spinners made early inroads into the South African batting order.
After Rohit Sharma’s potentially career-defining 176 in his first innings as a Test opener, it was Agarwal’s turn to dominate the bowlers as the 28-year-old made 215 before the hosts declared on Day 2 of the first Test.Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja then got in on the act by dismissing South Africa opener Aiden Markram, No. 3 Theunis de Bruyn and nightwatchman Dane Piedt to leave the touring side reeling at 39/3 at stumps. In a worrying sign for South Africa, who lost 0-3 on their last trip to India in 2015, a few deliveries kept low on a pitch already offering turn for the spinners.
Cheap lossesIndia lost Cheteshwar Pujara, captain Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane cheaply in the second session, but still managed to put an imposing first-innings total on the board. Playing only his fifth Test, Agarwal, who had a previous highest score of 77, drove South African spin spearhead Keshav Maharaj for two runs to long off and threw his hands in the air after bringing up his double hundred. Starting the day on 202 without loss, India’s openers treated South Africa’s bowlers with the same disdain they showed on the rain-interrupted opening day. Visiting captain Faf du Plessis packed his fielders on one side of the wicket but both Rohit and Agarwal scored almost at will, taming the spinners by employing both conventional and reverse sweep shots.
South Africa looked desperately short of ideas in the face of the batting onslaught. Rohit and Agarwal stitched together a stand of 317. Rohit was out stumped to Keshav Maharaj. Dropped on 126 by Quinton de Kock off seamer Vernon Philander, Rohit hit Maharaj for his sixth six and followed it up with a four but the left-arm bowler spun the next one past his forward defence, and the wicketkeeper whipped the bails off. Philander removed Pujara for six with the first delivery of the second session while Kohli, who made 20, offered a tame return catch to debutant all-rounder Senuran Muthusamy. Karnataka batsman Agarwal, who hit 23 fours and six sixes in his knock, added 53 for the third wicket with Kohli and a further 54 for the fourth with Rahane (15) before he holed out off a tame full toss from part-time spinner Dean Elgar. — Reuters
391 Runs accumulated by India openers —215 by Agarwal and 176 by Rohit — is the third highest in a Test innings. The highest is 404 by Vinoo Mankad (231) and Pankaj Roy (173) against New Zealand in 1956
3RD Indian opening pair — Rohit and Agarwal — to share a 300-run partnership in Test cricket. Rohit and Agarwal achieved the feat with a stand of 317 runs. Other Indian opening pairs to share a 300-plus partnership in Test cricket are Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy (413 runs vs NZ in 1956) and Sehwag and Dravid (410 runs vs Pak in 2006)
0 Bigger partnerships for any wicket for India vs SA than the opening stand between Rohit and Agarwal. The previous best was 268 between Sehwag and Dravid for the second wicket in Chennai in 2008
4 Indians who converted their maiden Test century into a 200-plus score, including Mayank Agarwal. Dilip Sardesai (200*), Vinod Kambli (224) and Karun Nair (303*) are the other three to have done so
86TH Indian batsman — Mayank Agarwal — to score a hundred in Tests. The 28-year-old, who made his debut vs Australia in Melbourne in December 2018, took eight innings to register his maiden Test century
9TH First-Class century and third double-ton for Agarwal, including a triple-ton. He has converted six of his nine First-Class hundreds into 150-plus scores
12 Sixes hit by India openers — six each for Rohit and Agarwal — is the most by openers for any team in a Test innings. There has been only one Test innings when India batsmen have hit more sixes — 15 vs SL at Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 2009